Currently in development by Criterion Games and Codemasters Cheshire, Need for Speed 2022 was reportedly going to be revealed in late July this year with a rumoured November 2022 release date. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.
Instead, EA has stayed stubbornly silent after confirming a new NFS game is coming later this year in a quarterly earnings report, leaving frustrated fans in limbo.
With no news updates or teasers from EA, fans are worried about the game’s state of development, sparking fears that a delay is on the cards. As we approach the end of September with no official updates, it is make or break time for Need for Speed 2022.
Where is Need for Speed 2022?
Although NFS 2022 hasn’t been officially revealed yet, several gameplay details have seemingly leaked.
The next NFS will reportedly be set in a new open-world city called Lake Shore City inspired by Chicago. It's also expected to adopt an unusual art style to appeal to a wider audience, incorporating anime-inspired visual effects. These effects were shown in a brief leaked gameplay video of an early build. We see cartoonish wings pop out of a Chevrolet Bel Air after it fails to land a jump through a giant doughnut.
Cop chases are also apparently back. This time, stealing parked cars will apparently trigger high heat-level pursuits with Corvette cop cars hunting you down. Multiplayer is expected to be a big focus too, with the rumoured return of Autoblog. A new Car Meets feature will also reportedly let players meet up around the map and bet money on street races.
Last seen in Need for Speed Payback, Speedcross is expected to return but staples like drag racing and drift events are apparently dropped.
These details haven't been officially confirmed by EA, but the publisher’s extended silence suggests a troubled development behind the scenes.
Considering it’s nearly the end of September and we still haven’t seen an official announcement, screenshot, or trailer, fans are losing hope that the new NFS will be released this year. Will we soon be talking about Need for Speed 2023 instead?
Will Need For Speed 2022 be delayed to 2023?
VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb claims NFS 2022 has been internally delayed by a month from November to December. But unless we get a surprise reveal before the end of this month, there’s a strong chance EA will delay the next NFS to 2023.
While a delay would undoubtedly disappoint fans who have waited patiently for a sequel to 2019’s Need for Speed Heat, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Delaying the next NFS until 2023 would give Criterion some critical extra polishing time. Rushing the release in time for Christmas to capitalise on holiday sales would ultimately damage the franchise’s reputation if we get a broken game riddled with bugs.
NFS 2022 has already been delayed after Criterion was recruited to help DICE finish Battlefield 2042 so it could release in time. However, Battlefield 2042's launch was a disaster, to say the least. The game was plagued with bugs and felt incomplete with missing features and a muddled vision.
After Battlefield 2042’s botched launch failed to meet fan expectations, the franchise’s reputation is ruined, forcing the developers to back to the drawing board for the sequel. EA can’t afford to make the same mistake with NFS 2022.
That said, a 2023 release isn’t ideal from a business perspective. With no major racing game releases later this year apart from WRC Generations and Dakar Desert Rally, NFS 2022 will enjoy the spotlight in November.
Pushing the game back to 2023 would also pit NFS directly against the open-world racer Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown as well as Forza Motorsport. On PC, NFS will also face competition from CarX Street, another open-world street racer delayed until December.
With all this in mind, NFS would need to release in Q1 2023 at the latest to stay ahead of the competition.
EA's stubborn silence is frustrating fans
It’s likely the game simply isn’t ready to be shown publicly yet. But after three years of no updates, fans are losing patience. You can feel their frustration when EA's Twitter posts are bombarded with comments from fans begging for NFS 2022 updates.
EA’s lack of communication is certainly not helping the situation. At this point, desperate fans would be happy to just see a logo confirming the name of the new NFS, which is rumoured to be called Need for Speed Unbound.
As the first game in the series in three years, NFS 2022 has a lot to prove. Criterion needs to take as much time as it needs to ensure NFS 2022 meets fan expectations and puts the series back on track.
Whatever is happening behind the scenes, EA needs to break the silence soon and reassure fans that NFS 2022 will be worth the agonisingly long wait.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Opinion page.